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London solo trip in Sept. 2014

Springfield...
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London solo trip in Sept. 2014

I am planning a solo trip to London, UK from the USA in 2014. Probably in mid September. It would be a Thursday through Tuesday. I wanted some advice from those that have either lived there or visited there, as it has been 23 years since I was there and that was only for 2 days as part of a tour group.

- Is that a good time of the year to visit?

- I was looking at staying at the London Marriott Hotel Marble Arch at 134 George Street London, United Kingdom W1H 5DN. I am a regular Marriott customer, and was planning to pay for my stay with reward points. Has anyone stayed there? How was it? Is it in a good location for seeing the sites and such?

- I have read/seen a lot of advise by so called travel experts on what not to wear when travelling in Europe. A lot of people say that you should not wear denim jeans, sneakers (trainers), tee shirts or shorts. What is the reality? Are they acceptable or not for everyday walking around?

- What sites would you suggest I visit? I am into museums and historical sites. I also like the unusual. I am currently thinking of The British Museum, The Tower of London, The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace, Imperial War Museum, Hunterian Museum. I plan to either walk or take public transit. I have no plans to rent a car. Is this too much for my allotted time? Anywhere else you think I would like?

- I am also thinking of taking in one or more shows in the West End while I am there. Looking ahead on the internet, I see Jersey Boys, Wicked, The Book of Mormon and a few others.

- When travelling I try to stay away from chain restaurants, that I could eat at while at home. I like to try the local fare. It doesn't have to be fancy. I'm pretty open to trying all sorts of foods and/or drinks. Any suggestions for restaurants or pubs?

Thank you in advance for your comments, suggestions and/or advice.

Edited: 14 November 2013, 20:22
Ossett, United...
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1. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

September can be a glorious time to visit London, though probably too cold for shorts.... ;D Otherwise, it really doesn't matter what you wear, except for some (few) restaurants.

Enjoy!

Suffolk, United...
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2. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

Hi Scott,

There is one "so called travel expert" called Rick Steves. who gets very bad reviews on these forums. I wonder if it was him who said one should not wear the clothes you suggest. Almost anything goes in London (and indeed most of the UK). I personally would not wear those clothes at the theatre but that is personal preference.

Certainly do not bother with hiring a car it will be a complete waste of time in London.

One great day out (weather permitting) is a boat trip from one of the London sites (embankment, Tower, etc.) to Greenwich to see Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum and the rest of Greenwich.

http://www.visitgreenwich.org.uk/

Happy planning

Bob

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3. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

There's a certain look that screams American tourist, and it's shorts worn with white socks & brand-new tennis shoes. That's probably where the advice comes from. But wear whatever you like. Shorts - probably not on September, due to temperature. Otherwise - jeans are worn absolutely everywhere in London.

Virginia
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4. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

September is a great time to visit London. We try to go to London once/year; September & October are our favorite months to visit.

We are Marriott Platinum & usually use points for part of our stay & pay for the rest. We tend to make longer stays. (Sept 2014 we're planning on 3 weeks in London. Be still my heart!) I would suggest staying at the Grosvenor Square Marriott over the Marble Arch Marriott. The location is slightly better & I think Grosvenor Square is a better hotel. It's a Cat 9 vs a Cat 8 for Marble Arch so it will cost you a total of 20,000 additional points for a 5 night stay. I think it's definitely worth it.

Wear whatever you feel comfortable in while traveling. No one will care or notice. Be sure you have comfortable shoes & come prepared changes in the weather on any given day. Layers are good. & something waterproof is a necessity.

Only you can decide what you're interested in seeing. Rest assured, you won't be bored & you'll probably want to make a return visit. Start with a good guidebook & map. Personally I like the Eyewitness Travel Guides. And unlike many posters on this forum, I don't think Rick Steves is so terribly bad. For instance he includes some good walking guides through some of the major museums like the British Museum, Tate etc. These enable you to get a good overview of the museum & see the important highlights.

There are a number of decent pubs in the Mayfair area close to the Grosvenor Square Marriott. We like the Audley, The Iron Duke. Galvin at Windows at the top of the Hilton on Park Lane has a good bar. Drinks are expensive, but no more so than any other classy bar, but the view is fabulous. Shepherds Market & St. Christopher's Place are both close by areas which have pubs, shops & restaurants. You'll find plenty of nearby places to eat and drink.

Hope you enjoy your planning & your trip. You'll have a blast.

London
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5. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

The main thing with clothes is a range to deal with anything from very sunny to very cold to very wet (and no, we can't predict what it will be, even a day ahead).

Other than that wear what is comfortable, but preferably not items which are coloured in Stars and Stripes, that not only screams out American tourist but looks totally naff

London, United...
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6. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

September can be an excellent time to visit. Autumn (fall) is my favourite time of year.

Marble Arch is fine. Don't know about the hotel but the area is central enough.

Wear what you like. Possibly smarten up a bit for religious buildings and posh restaurants but generally anything goes. Short scream tourist and it'll probably be just too cold for them.

You really need to read a guidebook or two for museums and places to go. If you're going to the Huntarian check out Sir John Soane's Museum (http://www.soane.org/).

Lot's of places to eat. Try Proper British fish'n'chips. Any particular cuisines interest you?

Boston...
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7. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

As you are interested in the Imperial War Museum, I would suggest you consider visiting the War Cabinet Rooms, Churchill's operations HQ in London. It also includes a museum that is about Churchill and wartime London. Really marvelous and right in Westminster.

I think you might also enjoy taking one of the "LondonWalks" -- they have many topics, many locations for their themed walks, and it would be convivial. And, you can certainly see some things that are unusual!

Beverly...
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8. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

I traveled solo to London last April and had a great time. I had never heard anything about not wearing certain clothing, and opted for jeans and sweaters the entire time. I never felt out of place. I did bring some dressy casual clothes for the theater. I would highly recommend the Victoria and Albert Museum and the verger tour at Westminster Abbey. If you're looking for something not as popular, take a peek into All Hallows by the Tower (church). They have part of the old Roman road in the basement museum. It's quite near the Tower and Tower Hill tube stop. If you're looking for a show, I saw Les Miserables, and it was excellent! I had seen it previously in the States, but the whole London show experience made it a night to remember!

Springfield...
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9. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I really appreciate all of the information.

jdbri, As to the types of cuisines I like, I really enjoy various different ethnic foods. I am positive I will get some curry, as I like Indian food but my brother, who I live with, does not. The smells of the spices, especially the garlic, bother him. As a result I do not normally get to have it. I am also sure I will enjoy some "British" food, such as fish & chips, savory pies, bangers, etc too. Truthfully, I haven't yet found too many types of food that I haven't liked. Specific items yes, but types no. I am always up to trying new, to me, cuisines. I definitely like to try the local fare, as to me that is part of travelling, enjoying the types of food common in the area I am travelling in.

lirwin13, thanks for the recommendation on Les Miserables. I saw this a number of years ago in Philadelphia. I've also seen the anniversary concerts they did, on my local public television station. I may consider that one. Though I may also consider another one that I haven't seen yet. Also, the All Hollows by the Tower sounds like it would be cool to see.

Charlemaine, I don't think you have to worry about me wearing any items which are colored in Stars and Stripes. I don't have any, and probably wouldn't wear anything like that even back home in the States. I tend to dress a little more understated.

MaxieLou, I will definitely see if I can fit the War Cabinet Rooms into my schedule. That sounds like it would be right up my alley. I am into military history, among other history.

travelbob31, I agree with not renting a car. I've read and see enough about traffic in London to avoid that. I have no problems with taking public transit, and have done so in quite a few places around the world.

hotdoggirl, thanks for the heads up on the area the hotel is in. I will have to take a look at the Grosvenor Square Marriott. Someone else on another site also mentioned that the Marble Arch area wasn't as nice as the Grosvenor Square area.

Again thank you everyone for your suggestions and advice. If you have anymore, please post it.

Watford
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10. Re: London solo trip in Sept. 2014

The only thing I would disagree with is September being an autumn month. It would not be unusual to see better weather during the month than in high summer and this year, the fourth and fifth of the month saw temperatures reach 29c (84f) in London.

Of course by the 16th it was down to 13c (55f) before recovering later in the month so maybe those shorts aren't a great idea!